The University of Pittsburgh's Community Engagement Center (CEC) in Homewood celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.
The university has a made a 15-year commitment to operate programs at facilities in Homewood and the Hill District to help strengthen those communities.
Daren Ellerbee, director of the CEC in Homewood, said more than 6,000 people have visited the center on N. Homewood Avenue in the last year. There have been 667 events at the center, along with dozens of ongoing programs for people of all ages.
The community center is a bridge between the local communities and the university.
“So we’ll hear something from a community member, and my job as the director is to be a matchmaker and turn back to my colleagues at the university to say, ‘What do we have that will address this challenge and how can we do that through the Community Engagement Center?'" said Ellerbee.
The Pitt CEC in Homewood has a number of target areas: economic prosperity and family support, enhance health and wellness, strength in cultural art, innovation and business growth, data access and organizational capacity, and enrich education and youth support.
With one year completed, Ellerbee said the goal going forward is to create more awareness of the center and attract more people to use it.
“Overall, I want to see improvement in the quality of life of people. I want to continue to see that folks are linked to employment opportunities, educational assistance and health and wellness programs,” said Ellerbee. “When young people can say that ‘I use to go to the Community Engagement Center and they helped me get to where I am today’ -- I can’t wait to hear those stories.”